Friday, March 14, 2008

the value of a timeout

for any of you who have ever watched a sporting event, especially basketball, you know the value of calling a timeout. when one team goes into a slump & the other team is on a high & scoring left & right the team that is in the slump always calls for a timeout. the coach pulls the team together, they talk about a strategy, & then the team hits the floor with a clear mind & usually the slump has ended. at a minimum, the team that was in the slump has it a least slowed the momentum that the other team had.

so why do we not call more timeouts in our own lives? i’ve watched so many sporting events where the crowd i’m with has yelled until they are blue in the face for one team to simply call a timeout to slow things down. yet, these same people who are able to identify the need for a timeout in sports don’t see the value in their own lives when a timeout should be called. whether at home or at work i believe the timeout brings value & isn’t called enough.

just last week i had one of those weeks at the office where every time i turned around it seemed like something wasn't working in the worst way possible – in our office we refer to these types of mishaps as events or outages. was it true that three servers hosting crucial databases could all fail in the same week at different times throughout the week or was it due to the fact that the whole company got into a rhythm of accepting these types of outages (ie: we were in a slump) & therefore every other day we had one? could we have avoided one of these outages if we would have simply slowed down after the first one (called a timeout), called the team together to regroup, & then get back to the game plan of focusing on every day work & making sure the "i"s were dotted & the "t"s were crossed in an effort to prevent future outages?

i suppose this is why we take vacations from work & from home. maybe we venture off to a new city or country, we relax at resorts, & sometimes we just stay at home & do nothing. while vacations are a quite valuable time indeed & definitely a form of a timeout i think we rely on these "extended timeouts" all to often when all we really need are more mini timeouts to slow the momentum of whatever it is in our lives that is out of control. in basketball you can take a full timeout or a 20-second timeout. sometimes those 20 seconds are all a team needs to regroup.

so next time you feel like "it" is out of control or that you can't get a grip on things remind yourself to take a timeout to get yourself back in the game with a new game plan.

No comments: